Resubmitting a Failed DAG

DAGMan has two ways of restarting a failed DAG: Rescue and Recovery. Rescue mode is most common for resubmitting a DAG manually while recovery mode is most likely to occur automatically if a crash or something occurs.

If a DAG has left the queue and the .dagman.out file doesn’t end with a successful exit line similar to


Then the DAG has failed and needs to be restarted. Resubmission should be done via a Rescue DAG if the file exists, otherwise DAGMan will use Recover mode. To determine if Rescue mode is possible check the DAG working directory for a Rescue DAG. A Rescue DAG is has a file name ending in .rescue<XXX>, where <XXX> is replaced by a 3-digit number.

The Rescue DAG

Any time a DAG exits unsuccessfully, DAGMan generates a Rescue DAG. The Rescue DAG records the state of the DAG, with information such as which nodes completed successfully, and the Rescue DAG will be used when the DAG is again submitted. With the Rescue DAG, nodes that have already successfully completed are not re-run.

There are a variety of circumstances under which a Rescue DAG is generated. If a node in the DAG fails, the DAG does not exit immediately; the remainder of the DAG is continued until no more forward progress can be made based on the DAG’s dependencies. At this point, DAGMan produces the Rescue DAG and exits. A Rescue DAG is produced on Unix platforms if the condor_dagman job itself is removed with condor_rm. On Windows, a Rescue DAG is not generated in this situation, but re-submitting the original DAG will invoke a lower-level recovery functionality, and it will produce similar behavior to using a Rescue DAG. A Rescue DAG is produced when a node sets and triggers an ABORT-DAG-ON event with a non-zero return value. A zero return value constitutes successful DAG completion, and therefore a Rescue DAG is not generated.

The granularity defining success or failure in the Rescue DAG is the node. For a node that fails, all parts of the node will be re-run, even if some parts were successful the first time. For example, if a node’s PRE script succeeds, but then the node’s HTCondor job cluster fails, the entire node, including the PRE script, will be re-run. A job cluster may result in the submission of multiple HTCondor jobs. If one of the jobs within the cluster fails, the node fails. Therefore, the Rescue DAG will re-run the entire node, implying the submission of the entire cluster of jobs, not just the one(s) that failed.

Statistics about the failed DAG execution are presented as comments at the beginning of the Rescue DAG input file.

By default, if a Rescue DAG exists, it will be used when the DAG is submitted specifying the original DAG input file. If more than one Rescue DAG exists, the newest one will be used. By using the Rescue DAG, DAGMan will avoid re-running nodes that completed successfully in the previous run.


Passing the -force option to condor_submit_dag or condor_dagman will cause DAGMman to not use any existing rescue DAG. This means that previously-completed node jobs will be re-run.

Rescue DAG Naming

The file name of the Rescue DAG is obtained by appending the string .rescue<XXX> to the original DAG input file name. Values for <XXX> start at 001 and continue to 002, 003, and beyond. The configuration variable DAGMAN_MAX_RESCUE_NUM sets a maximum value for <XXX>. If you hit the DAGMAN_MAX_RESCUE_NUM limit, the last Rescue DAG file is overwritten if the DAG fails again.

If a Rescue DAG exists when the original DAG is re-submitted, the Rescue DAG with the largest magnitude value for <XXX> will be used, and its usage is implied.


Here is an example showing file naming and DAG submission for the case of a failed DAG. The initial DAG is submitted with

$ condor_submit_dag my.dag

A failure of this DAG results in the Rescue DAG named my.dag.rescue001. The DAG is resubmitted using the same command:

$ condor_submit_dag my.dag

This resubmission of the DAG uses the Rescue DAG file my.dag.rescue001, because it exists. Failure of this Rescue DAG results in another Rescue DAG called my.dag.rescue002. If the DAG is again submitted, using the same command as with the first two submissions, but not repeated here, then this third submission uses the Rescue DAG file my.dag.rescue002, because it exists, and because the value 002 is larger in magnitude than 001.

Using an Older Rescue DAG

To explicitly specify a particular Rescue DAG, use the optional command-line argument -dorescuefrom with condor_submit_dag. Note that this will have the side effect of renaming existing Rescue DAG files with larger magnitude values of <XXX>. Each renamed file has its existing name appended with the string .old. For example, assume that my.dag has failed 4 times, resulting in the Rescue DAGs named my.dag.rescue001, my.dag.rescue002, my.dag.rescue003, and my.dag.rescue004. A decision is made to re-run using my.dag.rescue002. The submit command is

$ condor_submit_dag -dorescuefrom 2 my.dag

The DAG specified by the DAG input file my.dag.rescue002 is submitted. The existing Rescue DAG my.dag.rescue003 is renamed to be my.dag.rescue003.old, while the existing Rescue DAG my.dag.rescue004 is renamed to be my.dag.rescue004.old.

Special Cases

Note that if multiple DAG input files are specified on the condor_submit_dag command line, a single Rescue DAG encompassing all of the input DAGs is generated. A DAG file containing splices also produces a single Rescue DAG file. On the other hand, a DAG containing sub-DAGs will produce a separate Rescue DAG for each sub-DAG that is queued (and for the top-level DAG).

If the Rescue DAG file is generated before all retries of a node are completed, then the Rescue DAG file will also contain RETRY entries. The number of retries will be set to the appropriate remaining number of retries. The configuration variable DAGMAN_RESET_RETRIES_UPON_RESCUE controls whether or not node retries are reset in a Rescue DAG.

Partial versus Full Rescue DAGs

As of HTCondor version 7.7.2, the Rescue DAG file is a partial DAG file, not a complete DAG input file as in the past.

A partial Rescue DAG file contains only information about which nodes are done and the number of retries remaining for nodes with retries. It does not contain information such as the actual DAG structure and the specification of the submit description file for each node job. Partial Rescue DAGs are automatically parsed in combination with the original DAG input file, which contains information about the DAG structure. This updated implementation means that a change in the original DAG input file, such as specifying a different submit description file for a node job, will take effect when running the partial Rescue DAG. In other words, you can fix mistakes in the original DAG file while still gaining the benefit of using the Rescue DAG.

To use a partial Rescue DAG, you must re-run condor_submit_dag on the original DAG file, not the Rescue DAG file.

Note that the existence of a DONE specification in a partial Rescue DAG for a node that no longer exists in the original DAG input file is a warning, as opposed to an error, unless the DAGMAN_USE_STRICT configuration variable is set to a value of 1 or higher (which is now the default). Comment out the line with DONE in the partial Rescue DAG file to avoid a warning or error.

The previous (prior to version 7.7.2) behavior of producing full DAG input file as the Rescue DAG is obtained by setting the configuration variable DAGMAN_WRITE_PARTIAL_RESCUE to False. Note that the option to generate full Rescue DAGs is likely to disappear some time during the 8.3 series.

To run a full Rescue DAG, either one left over from an older version of DAGMan, or one produced by setting DAGMAN_WRITE_PARTIAL_RESCUE to False, directly specify the full Rescue DAG file on the command line instead of the original DAG file. For example:

$ condor_submit_dag my.dag.rescue002

Attempting to re-submit the original DAG file, if the Rescue DAG file is a complete DAG, will result in a parse failure.

Rescue for Parse Failure

Starting in HTCondor version 7.5.5, passing the -DumpRescue option to either condor_dagman or condor_submit_dag causes condor_dagman to output a Rescue DAG file, even if the parsing of a DAG input file fails. In this parse failure case, condor_dagman produces a specially named Rescue DAG containing whatever it had successfully parsed up until the point of the parse error. This Rescue DAG may be useful in debugging parse errors in complex DAGs, especially ones using splices. This incomplete Rescue DAG is not meant to be used when resubmitting a failed DAG. Note that this incomplete Rescue DAG generated by the -DumpRescue option is a full DAG input file, as produced by versions of HTCondor prior to HTCondor version 7.7.2. It is not a partial Rescue DAG file, regardless of the value of the configuration variable DAGMAN_WRITE_PARTIAL_RESCUE.

To avoid confusion between this incomplete Rescue DAG generated in the case of a parse failure and a usable Rescue DAG, a different name is given to the incomplete Rescue DAG. The name appends the string .parse_failed to the original DAG input file name. Therefore, if the submission of a DAG with

$ condor_submit_dag my.dag

has a parse failure, the resulting incomplete Rescue DAG will be named my.dag.parse_failed.

To further prevent one of these incomplete Rescue DAG files from being used, a line within the file contains the single command REJECT. This causes condor_dagman to reject the DAG, if used as a DAG input file. This is done because the incomplete Rescue DAG may be a syntactically correct DAG input file. It will be incomplete relative to the original DAG, such that if the incomplete Rescue DAG could be run, it could erroneously be perceived as having successfully executed the desired workflow, when, in fact, it did not.

DAG Recovery

DAG recovery restores the state of a DAG upon resubmission. Recovery is accomplished by reading the .nodes.log file that is used to enforce the dependencies of the DAG. The DAG can then continue towards completion.

Recovery is different than a Rescue DAG. Recovery is appropriate when no Rescue DAG has been created. There will be no Rescue DAG if the machine running the condor_dagman job crashes, or if the condor_schedd daemon crashes, or if the condor_dagman job crashes, or if the condor_dagman job is placed on hold.

Most of the time, when a not-completed DAG is re-submitted, it will automatically be placed into recovery mode due to the existence and contents of a lock file created as the DAG is first run. In recovery mode, the .nodes.log is used to identify nodes that have completed and should not be re-submitted.

DAGMan can be told to work in recovery mode by including the -DoRecovery option on the command line, as in the example

$ condor_submit_dag diamond.dag -DoRecovery

where diamond.dag is the name of the DAG input file.